Over the last couple of days leading military figures including Prayuth Chan-ocha and Sansern Kaewkamnerd have been expressing exasperation that the Department of Special Investigation are investigating the Army’s activity during the 2010 red shirt protests and demanding that DSI back off (PPT has another post coming on this).
As they have maintained since the murderous events, Sansern and Prayuth are claiming they are entirely innocent and that the deaths of more than 90 people – many of whom were seemingly shot by Army snipers – was nothing to do with them.
Of course, if they were innocent a full investigation would only help to exonerate them. Barking at DSI suggests that a full investigation is challenged and unlikely. We are sure the Army has much to hide?
Then there is the question of what is a sniper and the weaponry of a sniper. Sansern states that only M16s with enhanced scopes were used and such weapons are not “not sniper rifles.”
It seems Sansern doesn’t know that M16/AR15s, of which there are a huge number of variants, have been used by US snipers, as this article attests. In fact the US soldier writing this article even makes several comments stating that the M16 is a superior battlefield sniper weapon than the usual higher caliber sniper rifles:
The M16/AR-15 based sniper weapon system is ideal for company level snipers and for squad designated marksmen. The sniper or DM is able to field a highly accurate sniper rifle that fires the same caliber ammunition as of the rest of his squad carries. A company level sniper of SDM must also be able to operate with his unit and fill a standard infantry role as squad. A traditional bolt-action sniper weapon is not ideal for clearing buildings and other close-in work that is common on today’s battlefields. I quickly found that the 20″ bull barrelled M16, while heavier than an M4, is short and light enough that the shooter can dial the scope down to 2.5 power for CQB type work and yet quickly be ready to engage long distance targets.
Sansern is probably being deliberately ambiguous and disingenuous. PPT suspects that he is trying to (again) make the claim that 5.56mm rounds were used (before he claimed no live ammunition…) rather than 7.62mm rounds that the official sniper weapons of the Thai Army such as the SR-25 (we are no experts, but we think the Army sniper in the picture above is using this weapon), and by AK-47s. Recall that the previous claims were of “black shirts” using AK-47s. Essentially, Sansern is trying to blur investigations.
Update 1: Some readers think the pictured weapon with scope is an M16.*
We remain unsure, yet As was pointed out in parliament a long time ago, the Army issued plenty of live rounds – more than half a million of them, and more than 2,000 of those were for weapons designated for snipers.
Update 2: The Nation has an account of Sansern’s story. As we suggested above, Sansern is again making the facile claim that the Army didn’t shoot people. No sniper rifles and no snipers – forget all the evidence in video, photos and parliament. As usual, Sansern claims it was all the work of “men in black.” Troops had only M16s with scopes. Huh? Yep, they were for watching, not targeting. As usual, the notion is that the whole world is made up of gullible dolts likely to believe the ridiculous. In fact, it is the Army brass and Sansern the Army mouth who are ridiculous.
*A reader sent us another picture of the same Army sniper, and it is clear that the weapon is an M16 with a scope.